Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Ken Hawrey and Alice Naghshineh. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Iran reportedly conducted the first launch of a new satellite launch vehicle.
The Washington Free Beacon and Fox News reported that Iran launched the Simorgh rocket on April 19, citing anonymous U.S. defense officials. The Simorgh is a multi-staged rocket designed to deliver a satellite into orbit and uses certain technologies that could potentially be adapted for developing an ICBM-type delivery vehicle, according to congressional testimony delivered by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. This report follows over two months of observedactivity at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Semnan province. A U.S. defense official told the Washington Free Beacon that the launch was “either an unsuccessful launch, or a test of third stage.” An Iranian official told reporters in March that the Simorgh would be tested twice in 2016, before finally being launched in early 2017.
Campaigning for the second round of parliamentary elections scheduled for April 29 officially began today. A total of 136 candidates are campaigning for 68 seats.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing families of the victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing and other attacks blamed on Iran to collect almost $2 billion in frozen assets.
Iranian news outlets have reported the burials of more than 20 Afghan fighters over the past week as pro-regime forces ramp up their operations around Aleppo city.
- Katherine Zimmerman argues that Iranian activities in Yemen are actually part of a struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional influence and discusses U.S. policy options in “Signaling Saudi Arabia: Iranian support to Yemen’s al Houthis.”
- Frederick W. Kagan discusses current and requested Iranian and Russian assets in the Middle East in “Iran’s Plans to Transform the Middle East Military Balance.”
- Frederick W. Kagan and Vice Admiral John Miller (USN, Ret.) examine how Iran’s military shopping list could force the West to alter how it operates in the Persian Gulf in “Iran is muscling up. We should push back.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Foreign Ministry condemns U.S Supreme Court ruling. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari condemned the U.S Supreme Court ruling that allows for terror victims from the 1983 Marine barracks bombing and other terrorist attacks attacks attributed to Iran to collect roughly $2 billion in frozen assets. Ansari stated that the Supreme Court “has mocked the law” and added that moves such as this increase the distrust between Tehran and Washington. (Fars News Agency)
Rouhani discusses Iraqi political and security developments with Abadi. President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi discussed recent political and security developments in Iraq during a telephone call on April 20. Rouhani stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has been beside the government and the people of Iraq during the fight [against terrorist groups such as ISIS] and will not hesitate to provide any assistance.” Rouhani expressed his hope that the “sensitive political situation in Iraq” would be resolved quickly. (Press TV) (E) (IRNA)
Chinese evaluate investment opportunities in Chabahar. The managing director of a Chinese manufacturing company led a two-day Chinese trade delegation to explore investment opportunities in the Chabahar free trade zone. India, Afghanistan, and Iran reportedly finalized the text of a trilateral Chabahar port agreement on April 13. The Chabahar free trade zone is strategically significant because it provides India with a trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia that bypasses Pakistan. (IRNA)
Campaigning begins for second round of Parliamentary elections. Head of Iran’s Election Committee Mohammad Hossein Moghimi declared that campaigning has begun for the second round of Parliamentary elections and will continue until the morning of April 28. Moghimi added that a total of 136 candidates will be campaigning across 21 provinces. Election day for the second round of elections is on April 29. (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
Tehran Police commander defends expanded police presence. Tehran Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Hossein Sajedinia defended the recent addition of 7,000 “undercover agents” in Tehran who do not have arrest powers but are responsible for alerting the LEF of certain violations, including reckless driving, noise pollution, and improper veiling. Sajednia stated that public morality initiatives have been in place “for years” and stressed that the “invisibility of this recent societal security initiative was the will of the people.” President Rouhani criticized the expansion of this unit during remarks delivered on April 20. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Parliamentary commission to finish review of 6th Five-Year Development Plan next week. Parliamentarian Abuzar Nadimi announced that the Joint Commission for the 6th Five-Year Development Plan will conclude its review in the coming week. The 6th Five-Year Development Plan is a document intended to guide government policy over the next five years. Nadimi also stated that the commission will submit a final report on this plan to Parliament’s Board of Directors so that Parliament can review it in an open session during the second week of Ordibehesht (≈ April 26 – May 3). Parliament extended the 5th Five-Year Development Plan on March 16 until the end of the next Iranian year (≈ March 20, 2017) due to a delay in the approval of the 6th Plan. The administration has come under criticism for its failure to present the 6th Plan to Parliament in a timely fashion. (Tasnim News Agency)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria